Comparing visual and auditory working memory in adults with stutter and normal adults

Document Type : Research Paper


1 M.A in cognitive psychology, Department of Speech Therapy, Ibn-e-Sina Psychiatric Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Associate professor of cognitive neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran.

3 Professor of psychology, Department of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran.

4 Ph.D. student in biostatistics, School of Health, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.


Introduction: Developmental stuttering is a neurological disorder commonly manifested as a motor problem. Cognitive theories, however, hold that poorly developed cognitive abilities are the origins of stuttering. This study aimed to compare the visual and auditory working memory in adults with and without stutter.
Materials and Methods: This research was performed at the Speech Therapy Clinic of Ibn-e-Sina Hospital and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Research Center of in Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran, in 2019-2020. In this study, Adults Who Stutter (AWS) (N= 60) and Adults Who No Stutter (AWNS) (N= 60), aged between 17-37 years, with no history of mental and sensory, lingual, hearing, articulatory, motor, and psychiatry defects, were recruited. The N-Back test evaluated the participants' visual working memory abilities. In addition, the Wechsler test (Digit span) was used to evaluate the auditory working memory abilities. Data analyzed through SPSS 25 software.
Results: The results revealed no significant difference between groups in the digit naming task (P> 0.05). However, a significant difference was seen between the two groups during the 2‑Back task (P= 0.02). Analysis showed that AWS had more false alarms due anxiety while responding due to increased attentional demands. On the other hand, it could be a sign of working memory deficits during a difficult task.
Conclusion: Adults with stutter perform poorly than normal adults, even though their performance is still within the normal range.


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